I cannot count the times people I hardly know have referred to me as a "friend," or have written to me and signed their letters "your friend," or done some such thing. I have come to believe that, second only to "love," "friend" is the most misused word in the English language.
It is not my wish to offend or to hurt anyone who has, in the past, called himself my "friend," but merely to set them straight. There are a good many upstanding people...people whom I admire...who have called themselves "friends." Most of these are people who I enjoy spending time with and conversing with, but they are not friends. These people must learn to distinguish between "friendliness" and "friendship” and simply some of then were just office mates or school buddies.
Whenever I tell someone that I have only a handful of friends, they're not entirely sure how to respond. The proper response would be hearty congratulations, for I have taken the advice of George Washington, who said, "Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation." lol
The word "friend" is one that is slung around often in this world, but very few people seem to know what it actually means. "Friend" is not a word to play fast and loose with, nor is it a term to be hastily applied to a person you happen to be acquainted with. "Friend" is a word to be used carefully, because "friends" are to be chosen very carefully.
"What is a friend?" to me it is, "A single soul dwelling in two bodies." Your average acquaintance, however close and however interesting, does not share your soul. (the word "soul” here mean shared natures, emotions, and affections, rather than the immortal soul.)
"A true friend," said British minister Robert South, "is the gift of God, and He only who made hearts can unite them!" Friends are rare,...